Being so close to such a popular hiking destination and having never gone to it, I was pretty heart set on finding the time to explore Cathedral Park this summer. I had taken time off work to go, but that was the week of the blizzard. I didn't want to try to get more time off, so I decided to try to cram my 4 planned days of hiking into 2 days. I was pretty sure I would regret this.
Most people take a shuttle into the Cathedral Park core area. I opted against this for a few reasons. For one, I'm quite a cheap individual, and didn't feel like coughing up the money to take the shuttle. Also, it would have restricted my schedule on the second day. Finally, I felt like I needed to sweat and suffer a bit if I truly wanted to appreciate the park. For those reasons, I decided to take the 16 km Lakeview Trail into the core area of the park.
I got off work at 11 pm the night before I was going to leave. My plan was to leave Princeton at 3 am, so I didn't really get any sleep. I left at 3 as planned and got to the Lakeview parking lot around 5 am. I saw 2 other cars in the parking lot, while I saw a very full lot at the shuttle parking. I could tell this was not the popular way of getting into the park.
|The start of the Lakeview Trail|
I ran into a kilometer that was pretty much solid mud. Try as I might to not get my pants filthy, I ended up stepping in one or two patches of mud that were much deeper than I anticipated.
After a while I crossed into the core area of the park. I was hoping I would maybe start to see a bit more scenery. Other than the one little clearing I had crossed, my views for the day had been trees and mud.
|Entering the core area|
|The meadows, with Scout Mountain in the background|
I decided the hike to Glacier Lake and climb up to the rim from there. I climbed up into another meadow with patches of alpine larch trees.
|Glacier Lake at the base of Pyramid Mountain|
|The ascent from Glacier Lake|
|Up the rim|
I passed by Ladyslipper Lake and continued on to the Devil's Woodpile, a basalt rock formation.
|The Devil's Woodpile|
I left my pack around Stone City and hiked to Smokey the Bear, a rock formation that forms the silhouette of the fire fighting bear.
|Smokey the Bear|
The Giant Cleft was larger than I had expected it to be. I was impressed at just how straight the split in the rocks was.
|The Giant Cleft|
I returned to Stone City and got my pack, beginning the long descent to Ladyslipper Lake. I saw a couple of mountain goats along the way. I saw even more goat droppings along the way. Fun times.
I set up my tent at the campsite and fell asleep almost immediately. I still had another full day of hiking ahead of me, and I needed all of the rest I could get.
You can read about the second day of my trip here.
|Lake of the Woods|